Nepal due to make debt payments despite continuing crisis

By agency reporter
May 16, 2015

Jubilee Debt Campaign has joined a call by more than 30 organisations across Asia for Nepal to receive immediate and unconditional debt cancellation in the wake of two devastating earthquakes. It comes on the day (15 May) Nepal is due to make debt payments to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues and the rest of the Nepal in these critical moments. We ask governments, international financial institutions, international banks, and other lenders to do the same by immediately, totally, and unconditionally cancelling the country’s debts,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

Nepal’s finance ministry reported that the country owes a total of almost $3.5 billion in external debts as of last October. Just above $3 billion are owed to multilateral banks such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The country is due to spend $210 million on debt repayments in 2015 alone, more than 5% of government revenue. This includes payments over 2015 of $48 million to the World Bank and $14 million to the IMF.

“Already a Least Developed Country, Nepal is pushed back at least by a decade in its development efforts by these devastating earthquakes,” said Dr. Sarba Khadka of Rural Reconstruction Nepal, an APMDD member organisation, which endorsed the alliance’s statement.

The alliance’s other Nepalese member organisations – mostly rural, human rights, and women’s groups currently providing relief support – supported the call along with movements from other countries.

“The advantage of debt cancellation is that it is fast,” said Jonathan Stevenson of the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

“Funds are freed up immediately for recovery and reconstruction. Instead, today’s payments will mean millions of dollars are flowing out of Nepal at the time of greatest need. Creditors, starting with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, should take immediate steps to reverse this.”

More than 8,000 people have died and an estimated eight million people have been affected by the first, magnitude 7.8 earthquake which hit Nepal on 25 April. A magnitude 7.3 quake followed on 12 May claiming the lives of at least 76 more.

For details of debt statistics and payments, see:
http://www.fcgo.gov.np/wp-content/uploads/QuarterlyDebtPosition_1st_Quar...
http://www.imf.org/external/np/fin/tad/extforth.aspx?memberkey1=690&date...
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14214.pdf#page=45 http://go.worldbank.org/WM04979650

* Jubilee Debt Campaign http://jubileedebt.org.uk/

[Ekk/4]

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